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Berdych Races Into QFs; Verdasco Overcomes Slow Start

Beijing, China

Verdasco© Getty ImagesFernando Verdasco finished strongly to beat Flavio Cipolla.

Third-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych continued his quest to lift a first ATP World Tour title since May 2009 by reaching the China Open quarter-finals on Wednesday.

World No. 10 Berdych, who is in the running to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in November, required just 64 minutes to beat German qualifier Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-0. He is now 6-1 lifetime against the World No. 52, who dropped to a 27-24 match record on the season. Berdych, who last lifted silverware at the 2009 BMW Open at Munich (d. Youzhny), improves to a 44-18 mark.

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World No. 23 Fernando Verdasco overcame a slow start to defeat Flavio Cipolla 2-6, 6-1, 6-2 to reach the last eight in Beijing. After the loss of the first set, the Spaniard rallied to break serve four times and claim victory in one hour and 44 minutes. The 27-year-old Verdasco improved to a 34-20 match record on the season, highlighted by three runner-up showings at the SAP Open in San Jose (l. to Raonic), the Estoril Open (l. to del Potro) and the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad (l. to Granollers).

"It was a very difficult match," said Verdasco. "He was a player, I had never played before. It is always tricky at the start, when you are trying to figure out his strengths and weaknesses. I didn't start playing well and made too many unforced errors. In the second set, I played with more spin and didn't take as many risks. I came back and in the second and third sets, I played very well. Last year, I lost in three first rounds during the Asian swing, but my form is like in 2009. I am trying to win all the points I can and I will give my best for sure. I want to be back in the Top 20 then push towards the Top 10."

Mikhail Youzhny backed up his first-round upset win over fourth seed Nicolas Almagro by battling past Spain’s Feliciano Lopez 6-7(5), 6-2, 7-5. The Russian withstood 20 aces from Lopez’s racquet to convert six of his 10 break point chances and clinch victory in two hours and 24 minutes.

Former World No. 8 Youzhny has dropped to No. 37 in the South African Airways 2011 ATP Rankings and is through to his first ATP World Tour quarter-final since July, when he reached back-to-back clay-court semi-finals at the bet-at-home Open - German Tennis Championships 2011 in Hamburg (l. to Simon) and the Crédit Agricole Suisse Open Gstaad (l. to Granollers).

Ivan Ljubicic, the recent Moselle Open runner-up (l. to Tsonga), hit 13 aces past Florian Mayer of Germany for a 6-0, 2-6, 6-3 victory in one hour and 54 minutes. Ljubicic won the first seven games.

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